Update 7-27-20: Monmouth University has just published its reopening plan for fall 2020 --- check frequently for updates.
As with any major news story -- especially high-stakes, complex stories in which facts are still developing -- false information ("fake news") is a problem. Fraud and hoaxes, misinformation and disinformation can be spread in a variety of ways, from simple human error to deliberate attempts to sow fear and confusion. This page will help you learn to spot COVID-19 misinformation and direct you to resources tracking and exposing related fraud and hoaxes. Visit the Media Literacy & Misinformation research guide to learn more about misinformation and explore tips and tools.
News organizations and others have been collecting and debunking hoaxes and misinformation surrounding COVID-19. Note: search both "coronavirus" and "COVID-19" for latest updates.
The CDC, in conjunction with Microsoft, has developed a COVID-19 symptom checker tool designed to assist users in learning more about the virus' known symptoms, and to facilitate discussions with health providers. As with all such tools, it is not to be used to make diagnoses or prescribe medical treatment.
As web platforms try to stay on top of misinformation related to COVID-19, a group of scholars and nonprofits has contacted them requesting that they preserve data on content that they've removed during the course of the pandemic. Such data should prove valuable for future study.
Five quick ways to double-check online information
Source: First Draft News
NewsGuard, a nonprofit that fact checks and rates news stories, has implemented a new feature listing Facebook pages that have most frequently linked to debunked COVID-19 misinformation and conspiracy theories.
Dubbed the "super-spreader" list, it is continuously updated and actively solicits user input. NewsGuard plans to implement similar lists for YouTube and Twitter in the near future -- stay tuned.
BBC News has been studying COVID-19 misinformation trends over the last few months, and has developed a list of seven types of people who start or spread viral misinformation:
A new report published by computer science/law expert Woodrow Hartzog and a team of experts finds that while the pandemic has led to welcome advancements in video conferencing technology and a plethora of health-tracking apps, those same technological improvements include significantly increased opportunities for data collection, exposure and misuse. Users in search of the latest health information or just a human connection are being victimized by an ever more sophisticated data mining infrastructure. The worst part, says Hartzog, is some of these apps are very difficult to extricate yourself from. This isn't the last you'll be hearing about this.
Friends and family -- like most people -- want to share truthful information. Here's what to do if you find they are spreading misinformation and need to step in and correct them:
The medical community has fought back against misinformation on a number of fronts, including social media platforms like Twitter. Strategies include using algorithms to "surface" correct information and posting across multiple formats.